Octaved Flow Blog

Updates, new features and functions

  • 2021
  • 2022

December 2022

December 06, 2022

Feature Time control also for groups

  • This feature is primarily interesting for use cases in which project working time is tracked and billed to customers
  • Until now, time control was only possible at the project level
  • Now time control can also be specified for groups of work packages
  • Use case:
    • A project with a duration of one year was agreed with the customer
    • Recurring services to be performed on a monthly basis have been defined. Billing is also done on a monthly basis.
    • With the new feature you create a project without time control, then a group for the first month with a time control exactly for this month. The agreed services are created as work packages within this group.
    • In preparation for the following month, this group is then simply copied (one click per month)
  • Goodie: When copying a group for the next month, the time window for the time control is automatically adjusted. For example, if you copy an existing group with its work packages at the end of December to prepare for the next month, the time control will automatically be set to January.
Time control for groups
  • Notes
    • If, for example, a fixed quota/contingent has been agreed for a year and what has been done in each case is to be billed monthly, the (monthly) partial billing feature is still the most suitable. The time control for groups is ideal, if the quota applies monthly and thus a monthly target is to be fulfilled.
    • It is possible to create time controls for projects and groups in parallel, although this is actually an either-or. Octaved Flow allows this, so that it is easier to transfer projects to the other approach. As a user, you are not unnecessarily restricted in your own freedom. You can see at a glance what is configured anyway.

Features for improving the task list

  • 3-dot menu for tasks in list view
    • Icons are now as actions in a 3-dot menu. The number of icons has grown over time and it was time to clean up an create more space again.
    • At the same time more clarity is created. Because next to each icon you can always see the name of the action.
  • Insert new task before and after current task
    • A new task could always be inserted after the currently selected task by pressing the Enter key
    • Now it is also possible to insert a new task before the current one
    • Both actions can be found in the new 3-dot menu
  • Simplified indentation and outdentation of tasks
    • Tasks can be indented at their location and disengaged as well
    • The logic that tasks maintain their hierarchy has been removed. The behavior is simpler and more intuitive this way.
  • No more list header when task list is empty
    • The header line has been removed to save space
  • Comment on task no longer closes accidentally
    • When copying content or enlarging the input field, it was possible to accidentally close the note popup. The data is automatically saved when it closes, but it was still an at least occasionally annoying behavior.
    • The popup now closes only with the Save button

Name change Kanban and Board.

  • Kanban boards are now called Kanban in the menu and in other places.
  • The Wiki, the place to store files, documents, images, meeting reports, collaboration, etc. has been renamed Board
  • The general perception of the meaning of the terms has changed, according to our observations. We have adapted Octaved Flow accordingly, always with the goal of continuing to keep the learning curve flat for newbies

Optimizations

  • Status of auto-chain
    • The status of auto-chain for a work package is now displayed in the detail view of the work package.
    • You can turn auto chain on and off there as well
      Auto-chain in work packages
  • Book more work packages in Time.
    • The display of work packages in the menu item Book Time has been optimized
    • Work packages are no longer all the same height, but more fit on one page
  • Icon instead of text for Like work package
    • In the list of tasks of a work package, the planned execution period for the task was always displayed as a date until now
    • For tasks that do not have their own planning, but are planned As work package, an icon is now displayed instead of the date
    • How the work package is planned is displayed anyway in the immediate vicinity, at the work package
    • If have chosen the icon so that the task receives the planning "from above"
    • By using an icon, it is quicker to visually see which tasks are planned differently from the work package planning and which are on the default setting
    Icon for inheritng planned 'as work package'
  • Button to switch between tile and list view also in Edit projects
    • The button introduced with the last release to switch between tile and list view in the menu item My Tasks was very positively received by the users
    • Therefore the same button with the same function is now also available for Edit Projects
    Tile view toggle for tasks in 'Edit Project'
  • The time span for My Tasks can now be specified directly in the header
    Easier time frame selection in 'My tasks'
  • More avatars for multiple responsibilities
    • For a task with multiple responsibilities, 3 avatars are now displayed instead of one
    • Only from 4 on +1, +2 etc. are displayed next to the avatar
    Display more responsibilities for tasks
  • Hiding of tasks that are not in turn
    • In case of logical dependencies or auto-chain, the tasks are processed in sequence
    • This means that only one task is in the queue at a time
    • Using the new settings, the other tasks can be hidden. This applies to both completed and future tasks.
    Display of tasks that are currently blocked

November 29, 2022

Feature Logical dependency for tasks, workflow

  • Logical dependency between tasks of a work package
  • Logical means that the following task is due as soon as the predecessor is done
  • Logical dependencies are also possible as a chain: Task 1 > Task 2 > Task 3 > ...
  • A task can have several predecessors, which in this case should all be completed before the task is started.
  • Flexible and dynamic workflow between different users
  • Work simplification for repetitive workflows: When copying template projects, all dependencies are copied as well. Likewise when tasks are copied from another work package. Proven standard workflows in the company/organization are thus automatically transferred.
  • The previously existing feature for dependencies has been renamed to temporary dependencies. Logical dependencies are an addition. Temporal dependencies can still be used.
    • Background/Advantages: In traditional project planning with Gantt charts, it is common for tasks to be scheduled for a specific day or time period. For dependencies, this makes the smallest unit a day. If the tasks are small and need to be completed quickly, this type of planning is sometimes too slow. For example, with time dependencies, five tasks are scheduled over five days. With logical dependencies, they can be completed in one day because the ball is played immediately.

Feature Inbox notification for logical dependencies.

  • Notification via inbox when the predecessor of my task has been completed
  • Adjustable whether notification via inbox, email and/or desktop

Feature Auto-chain

  • All tasks in a work package are automatically chained with a logical dependency
  • If all tasks in a work package are to be completed in sequence, this feature saves time during creation compared to manual chaining of tasks.
  • The order of chaining is as the tasks are displayed. So the tasks at the top first, then the next and so on.
  • If a task is inserted later, this task is also inserted exactly at this position in the chain
  • Auto-chain can be activated per work package
  • When copying projects, work packages or projects created as templates, the setting is copied as well

Feature Multiple users responsible for one task

  • Multiple users can be selected for a task in the Responsible column and thus be responsible for a task
  • Groups can also be selected

Feature Responsibility "external", waiting for customer feedback

  • In the selection of the responsibility for a task there is an additional option External.
  • If External is assigned to an open task "Waiting for feedback customer", the status is immediately clear
  • This feature makes the most sense in combination with logical dependencies or auto-chain
  • This feature can just as well be used to represent waiting for a machine or other external factors
  • External is used so that when using logical dependencies or auto-chain, no one person on the team has the task on the table

Feature All my tasks and work packages in one menu item.

  • In My Tasks all views are united in one menu item
  • The information is no longer distributed, but centralized in one place, so that everyone in the team can always see what needs to be done in one place in their workspace
  • The order (logical dependencies) is of course taken into account
  • The menu items My Work Packages and My Calendar are no longer available. Their functions are all under My Tasks
  • Newly added is the menu item Personal Tasks to better separate personal (non-collaborative) tasks from common topics

November 02, 2022

Optimizations

  • As effort limit on group or project level it is no longer possible to specify only a whole number, but also a number with decimal places. This optimization is for companies/organizations with small but many projects. For example, 7.5 hours can now also be specified as the project cap.

October 2022

Feature Outlook Integration

  • Display of your own Outlook calendar in the project calendar of Octaved Flow
  • This allows to see at a glance and without switching back and forth between Octaved Flow and Outlook, which work packages, tasks and Outlook appointments are pending for the day or for the week.
  • The connection to Outlook is done via My Settings, own avatar/name in the bottom left corner
  • The appointments from Outlook are displayed in the menu item My Calendar.
  • For Outlook in the context of Microsoft 365

Feature Notification for Inbox also via email and desktop, configurable.

  • Background: The Inbox informs with a number in a red circle about relevant events, like I was assigned a task or I was mentioned in a post.
  • Notification via e-mail
  • By desktop notification
  • Note: on Windows the desktop notification is at the bottom right, similar to receiving an e-mail
  • Per event adjustable if notification via inbox, email and/or desktop
  • The setting is done via the Configure icon (cogwheel) in the Inbox

Feature Microsoft Project Import/Export

  • Import and export of files in Microsoft Project format
  • Bulk import of multiple files
  • Each imported file becomes a separate, new project
  • Automatic and self-learning user name assignment during import. The username in Octaved Flow is always the email address, in Microsoft Project another name can be specified. Here a matching takes place.

Optimizations

  • Improved algorithm for calculating the workload of users. The variant of the algorithm that takes into account both the planned workload of work packages and the time estimates of users for tasks in parallel has been completely rebuilt. The algorithm leads to more realistic forecasts if other users are also involved in a work package and in turn have time estimates for tasks.

September 2022

Feature Material resources

  • Definition: Material resources are, for example, machines that are required in the context of product development, test stations or training rooms - ultimately, things that are required in the context of a project at a certain point in time
  • Direct integration of material resources into project planning
  • No further tool necessary, no annoying switching between windows and tabs
  • Display in the context of the work package - you can see at a glance if the material resource has been reserved at the right time in the project flow. As always in Octaved Flow, a flame is displayed as a warning if it doesn't fit.
  • Simple drag and drop, analogous to project planning.
  • No "tinkering" solution via public Outlook folders (deprecated by Microsoft anyway).
  • This feature was especially requested by Octaved Flow customers and prospects from R&D, product development and product testing, but is universally applicable outside this context as well
  • Creation of material resources via the menu item Settings > Advanced > Material resources
  • Grouping of material resources in a tree structure (folder with subfolders...)
  • Only when at least one material resource is created, the menu item Material Resources is displayed under Planning. The planning is done in the Gantt chart by drag & drop.

Feature Workflow of project roles

  • The project roles in a work package are brought into a logical dependency
  • For example Implementation >Quality assurance. These two steps occur in sequence as a workflow.
  • When a workflow step is checked off, the subsequent workflow step immediately appears in the workspace of the responsible user
  • Workflows are defined in a central location, so that only the name of the workflow then has to be selected to give a work package a workflow
  • Problem-free switching to a workflow even afterwards
  • The trick with this feature: The existing project roles are used for the workflow, which retain their function and are only supplemented by a logical chaining.
  • The feature was developed a few months ago "on the fly", enjoys increasing popularity and has therefore now been completely revised

August 2022

Feature Switch off project time tracking and billing.

  • The functions of project time tracking and billing can be switched off centrally
  • What it's about: Octaved Flow has comprehensive functions within the scope of project time tracking, creation of time sheets and billing of services according to (time) effort. If these functions are not used, the menu items and buttons can get in the way.
  • With the deactivation all corresponding menu items and buttons are hidden.
  • The setting is done under Settings > Advanced > General.
  • All data is retained when the functions are switched off. So if you switch off the functions and then switch them on again, all tracked times and all other data of the time tracking and accounting are available again.
  • The initial setting of whether the project time tracking and billing functions are available is done by the setup wizard during registration, but can be changed at any time via Settings.

Optimizations

  • The input of maximum efforts for work packages can be done in days (so you don't have to do mental calculations or use a calculator in parallel). The input of "4d" in the effort is converted to 4 * 8 hours = 32 hours. If the language is set to German, this works with "4t".
  • Popup for easier editing of dependencies. Dependencies can be created between work packages or tasks and are displayed in the Gantt chart with arrows.

July 2022

Feature Working hours, off-days, vacation and sick-leave.

  • Regular working hours can be set for any day of the week. For example, Monday through Thursday 8 hours and Friday 4 hours.
  • The setting is done centrally for the company/organization and can be set differently for each user. Users can also be assigned to groups and the setting can then be made for a group.
  • In addition to the regular working hours, deviations can also be set for individual days. For example on Friday 25.11.2022 6 hours instead of 4 hours.
  • The default setting is Monday to Friday 8 hours each.
  • Off-days can be set for the company.
  • Example: Christmas
  • Absences for users are vacation or sick-leave.
  • Individual days or a period of time can be specified
  • Permissions can be assigned (as always) per user or per group. It can be set who is allowed to add and edit working hours and absences. In addition, the level of detail of the information can be set. For example, whether others in the team are allowed to see that the reason for the absence is sickness or whether a user is simply shown as absent in a completely neutral way.
  • With working hours and off-days as data basis, the calculation of the utilization of users is much more accurate
  • In addition, it can be used, for example, to quickly identify and reschedule the impact of a user's sick-leave and how the redistribution of work to others can work, taking into account their working hours and absences.
  • The feature can be found under the new menu item Working hours/off-days.

Feature Week view in "My calendar "

  • In the menu item My Calendar so far planned work packages and tasks are displayed for one day at a time
  • The display can now be switched to a week view
  • The week view can be scrolled endlessly (crosswise)
  • The display corresponds to the display in the menu item Team planning, i.e. with bars that can also extend over several days. Since it is My calendar, however, not all, but only own work packages and tasks are displayed.

Optimizations

  • Improved popup to select a date or a time span, easier handling

June 2022

Feature Utilization display in "Team planning" can be switched on/off.

  • The workload display in the menu item Team planning can be switched on or off
  • The workload display shows the imputed workload of users by assigned work packages and tasks in the form of a bar. An overload is displayed in orange.
  • The workload can only be calculated if corresponding data is available as a basis. This can be either work packages with defined efforts or time estimates of tasks.
  • If neither is used, the (empty) workload display takes up unnecessary space and can be switched off.

Optimizations

  • The arrows for displaying dependencies in the Gantt chart have been graphically improved and are now more harmonious
  • New solution for saving files. The available storage space is no longer technically limited, but depends only on the license level or corresponding license extensions.

May 2022

Feature Tasks can be displayed in the menu item "Edit projects".

  • The display in the menu item Edit projects can be switched between the tile view of work packages and the view with tasks
  • The display of work packages together with tasks already exists in Workspace in My tasks. This view is now also possible when editing projects.
  • The advantage of this is that you can now see the tasks not only for the work packages for which you are responsible, but you have the complete overview for all projects
  • Since this can be too much information depending on the filtering, the view can be switched off

Feature New menu item "Team tasks "

  • The tasks of all in the team are displayed in this menu item in an overview
  • The view not only creates a better overview for team leaders, team members can also view the tasks of direct co-workers.
  • Team members are added via the purple plus icon

Optimizations

  • The menu item Settings became confusing with the enhancements of the last months. The menu items have therefore been reorganized thematically and divided more clearly.
  • For the billing type, a default value can be set per customer. For example, if a customer works mostly with contingents, contingent can be selected as the default billing type. If projects are created manually, this saves one click per work package.

April 2022

Feature Effort of personal tasks is included in calculation of workload.

  • Personal tasks are included in the calculation of the workload
  • In Team planning, when clicking on the workload bar, only the time scheduled for personal tasks is displayed, not the name or other details of the personal task

Feature Configurable columns when exporting time sheets.

  • Previously it was only possible to specify whether the name of the person who booked the time should be displayed or not
  • Now it is possible to set for all columns of the time sheet whether they are displayed or not
  • With the setting Automatic the column will only be displayed if there is at least one value for it
  • The setting is done when downloading time sheets via the link Configure columns for downloads.

Optimizations

  • When a task has been created, another task can be created with the Enter button
  • More quick start tutorial videos
  • Improved performance of the task list

Bug fixes

  • Hidden users are no longer displayed in assignments, such as to tasks, and thus can no longer be selected

March 2022

Feature 2-factor authentication via SMS.

  • When logging in, a code must be entered, which is sent via SMS
  • Can be activated centrally for the company/organization
  • Available only in Enterprise plan (cost for SMS)
  • Note: 2-factor authentication with Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, 1Password and similar tools is still available for everyone without special agreement

Optimizations

  • Faster assignment of other people to a task in the task list
  • More appealing buttons in terms of design, globally throughout Octaved Flow
  • New projects, groups and work packages can be created not only in Edit projects, but also in the menu item Project planning.

February 2022

Feature Price category selectable per time booking.

  • Price category can be included with a time booking, for example Senior-Consultant or Junior.
  • This is useful when different roles, such as Senior-Consultant or Junior, are working on a work package
  • For each work package, you can set whether a fixed price category applies to all time trackings on the work package or whether the price category is selected when the time is booked
  • The feature was especially requested by management consultancies and IT consultancies

Feature Drag & Drop dependencies in Gantt charts.

  • Time dependencies between work packages, such as work package B starts after work package A ends, can be set directly in the Gantt chart by drag & drop.
  • To do this, an arrow is dragged from work package B to the desired predecessor work package A with the mouse.

Optimizations

  • Individual colors for task sections
  • Opening the task list and the wiki directly from the detail view of the work package
  • Summary of sections when displaying tasks in the calendar, improved clarity
  • Help texts per page with instruction videos for first steps

January 2022

Optimizations

  • Improved design for Kanban boards
  • Uniform operation and design for detailed view of projects, groups, work packages and tasks
  • Faster loading due to optimized page layout